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Little Margaret The Moral Permissibility of Abortion Thesis Abortion is Morally permissible, Widely Decent, and can be Honorable Extreme view 1. Abortion kills a person with full moral status 2. Killing someone with full moral status is immoral a. Therefore, abortion is immoral Some problems with the extreme view argument it doesn't live up to our intuitions we feel a greater sense of loss at a later, rather than an earlier miscarriage Greater priority to childhood diseases over miscarriages o So, Even though it deserves some regard, a fetus is too far removed from the paradigmatic notion of a person Some more problems (moral theory/ extreme view) granting status at one time or another seems ad hoc* that assumes a metaphysics of discreet stages of moral rights o The Solution Expand our notions beyond rights, to notions of value that exist along a continuum *ad hoc (to this) improvised, impromptu, formed for some purpose Another argument we'll look at (Telos Argument) 1. A fetus has potential or telos* to become human* 2. The right way to value potential personhood is to give it the same deference as persons a. Therefore, the potential/telos of an embryo should ground its full moral status i. *Telos forward looking toward some end (as in biology) Arguments regarding gestational assistance Morally restrictive views ride atop a misconception of the act of aborting Gestation involves actively providing fetus with life Without the active provisions, it would not live* Even if an entity has a right to life, it does not follow that it has a right to all the assistance needed to maintain that right So, even if terminating gestation leads to death, it still does not violate its right to life Another Argument Active Trajectory Termination 1. Stabbing someone terminates an otherwise possible trajectory is wrong 2. Aborting terminates an otherwise possible trajectory a. Therefore, Abortion is wrong* As long as your continued life on depends my continued support, I do not violate your right to lfie if I quit supporting you What's at stake in continuing pregnancy? physical and medical risks Social risks* Personal and Emotional risks Brings another person into your family So, the proper way to value the relationship of motherhood and the bodily connections of pregnancy is to view them as entities observing special deference. Does it follow that any reason to abort is a good one> No (obviously) One may get the wrong value of burgeoning human life One may decide to abort for the wrong reason (we may say she acted indecently) Even then, it doesn't follow that the conclusion is closed to her There are still many available reasons Norms of Responsible Creation One possible objection: If you are responsible for pregnancy, you have a greater responsibility to see it through The problem: It's not clear what is meant by `responsibility' Voluntary intercourse? Voluntary intercourse with contraception? Voluntary intercourse without contraception? Deciding to become pregnant at a fertility clinic? Norms about the activity that can lead to creation Not about one owes should it take place We'd say `one should not have irresponsible sex' It doesn't follow from that, that I'm now obliged to bring a new person into the world Responsibility to create is bound by the conditions under which a `person' is created Even if a person very much wants a child, he/she may not wish to make a person under these conditions o Indecent world o Un-intact family o Oppressive society Objection to the Decent World Unless life is worse than non-existence, how can you abort out of concern for its future? Answer: It's not the case that you impose a harm on a child by bringing it into existence Rather, creating a person would harm the ideas of the woman regarding creation and parenthood. Creating a person under those circumstances would violate her commitment to respectful creation ... View Full Document

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